This question struck me after reading a variety of articles recently.
The first showed that the top 1% own over half of the world's wealth.
The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published in October, which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession.
According to the Credit Suisse global wealth report a person needs just $3,650 – including the value of equity in their home – to be among the wealthiest half of world citizens. However, more than $77,000 is required to be a member of the top 10% of global wealth holders, and $798,000 to belong to the top 1%.
I then read a fascinating article about Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) and how the 99% feel.
I’m just wondering, when you take a sip of thousand dollar wine, does any part of you really believe that it’s worth it? Because while I’m sure you poured it into a decanter and let it breathe for exactly the amount of time the sommelier instructed, and while you took a big whiff before you tilted that glass back, tried to imagine all of those vanilla and oak and other subtle, almost hidden aromas, I guarantee you that when that first drop hit your tongue, there had to have been a little part of you that was disappointed, that refused to stay silent, that piped up in the back of your head, That’s it? It’s good, but really? That’s it? But I just paid a thousand dollars. It’s just a glass of wine.
Follow this with an interview with UHNWI Robert Downey Junior, the highest earning Hollywood A-lister of last year. When asked by the reporter what it was like to earn so much, he replied:
I remember living in an apartment and you don’t have the rent for the next month. All that matters is how is salvation going to occur? How am I going to get 600 bucks? And that’s the only problem that money solves. It takes away fear of financial insecurity and fear of financial insecurity is a big one, but it’s only one of a thousand fears. There was a study done that showed once you have enough money to feed yourself and take care of what you need to do, there is not a dollar amount more that contributes in any way to your happiness.
And psychologists have proven that money makes you more satisfied but not necessarily happier.
So, does money matter? Yes, but it depends on what you mean by “matter.” You may be more satisfied with your life if you have more money, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happier. Happiness and satisfaction are simply different things. Being in the upper echelon of the income distribution won’t necessarily put you in the upper echelon of the happiness distribution. But engaging in meaningful activities and surrounding yourself with engaging friends might go a long way toward getting you there.
So there you have it. Money can't buy me love … but it helps.